LHS football advances to quarterfinals following forfeit by Dodge City

Lawrence High head coach Steve Rampy huddles up the Lions during a timeout in the second quarter on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 at Lawrence High School.

Lawrence High’s football team will advance to the Class 6A quarterfinals without having to play its Round 2 matchup against Dodge City.

Dodge City’s team had seen a recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases and players in quarantine, and it decided to forfeit this week’s game at LHS as a result. Lawrence athletic director Nick Wood confirmed to the Journal-World that the decision was made at about 3 p.m. Monday.

“It’s not the way we wanted to advance, but that’s 2020 for you,” Wood said. “Ultimately it was their call, but it was the right call. Our Lawrence High administration didn’t feel comfortable putting our team in that kind of jeopardy at the same time.”

Wood said that both administrations discussed other scenarios, such as holding certain players out, but a forfeit ended up making the most sense given the impact it could have had on the Lions (9-0, No. 1 in Class 6A) down the road.

“They recognized that they did not want to put Lawrence High at that kind of risk,” Wood said. “Their administration was fantastic and great. We recognize that’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not a fun way to end your season.”

Both teams, which were slated to square off at LHS at 7 p.m. Friday, were coming off lopsided victories in the opening round of the postseason. The Lions, who are the top seed in the Class 6A West, rolled to a 66-6 victory over Wichita North last week.

Dodge City, the No. 9 seed, earned a 39-0 victory over No. 8 Topeka High. The Red Demons, who finished the year with a 4-6 overall record, were one of only two 6A schools in the state to play an entire regular season.

“It is just the reality of the world we are living in right now,” Wood said. “It’s a reminder of just how fragile everything is. Each week, you are playing your opponent and you are playing COVID. You have to find a way to stay healthy.”

According to the official KSHSAA bracket, Lawrence was credited with a 1-0 victory over Dodge City in the regional matchup.

It marks the first time that the Lions have advanced to the quarterfinals under head coach Steve Rampy, who is in his third season at the helm. The last time LHS made it to the sectional round was in 2015, when it was the No. 1 seed in the entire bracket.

Lawrence will now have the week off before playing the winner of No. 4 Derby (5-2) and No. 5 Gardner Edgerton (5-2) at home next week. Derby (No. 3 in Class 6A) has won four state titles since 2015, including consecutive crowns in each of the last two years.

“We wish the Lawrence Lions good luck with the remainder of their season and are appreciative of their understanding regarding this difficult decision,” Dodge City wrote in its official release.


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